Winter weather should make us think of the wildlife around the places where we live. And if not, the occasional tracks left in the snow remind us that people are not the only ones suffering in the cold.
Wild animals have been surviving Oregon winters for eons. But I think we have made it harder for many species other than our own by cutting down woodlands and brush and putting houses, landscaping, and streets on so much of the land outside the cities.
Not much we can do about it now, I guess. But if you have a yard that you share with various animals, you might consider putting out some stuff that will sustain them during the rougher parts of the year. Ideally, big yards would have been planted with the kinds of bushes and grasses that provide shelter and nourishment for the wild animals that normally live there — or would live there if we hadn’t wiped out their habitat.
It’s too late to worry about plantings when the snow starts coming down and the thermometer hovers around freezing. But we can try to make up for that. How? Feed stores and garden centers everywhere have many varieties of wild-animal feed in store. There’ bird seed, obviously, as well as food for squirrels and even deer. (I’ve found Cool’s on East Second in Albany to be very helpful.)
At the stores you can also get advice on what’s best for the kind of wildlife around your place. So go ahead and ask. (hh)